What You Need To Know: The Cubs offense looked good… for three innings. Matt Harvey had absolutely nothing, and Rizzo on the game’s first pitch, Happ on the next AB, and then The War Bear with a bomb that landed somewhere near Arthur Ashe Stadium gave the Cubs four runs in the first three innings. You would have thought that was enough, except Mike Montgomery got seriously bit by the BABIP Dragon, and the rest of the pen went Vietnamese monk in pretty much every inning they threw. So a Mets team who had their best hitter, Michael Conforto, take all of one AB in this series put up 9 runs and 17 over the three-game series. Gross.
The Next Level: I know Joe Maddon is going to tell me to trust the process, and for most of the season I’ve been pretty sanguine about it. The offense struggling because basically every young hitter save Bryant is having growing pains? I don’t like it, but I understand it. The rotation regressing after last year is something I can understand too. The defense falling off is a bit more frustrating, but I also have faith that it will rebound.
But lately, the process seems to be broken, and I don’t know that Joe is paying attention. Then again, he very well may be and just not doing so in the press, which is fine. Again, Montgomery was extremely unlucky. There wasn’t a hard hit ball in the first, but he gave up two singles and then gave up a run when Kris Bryant mistook axle grease for stickum and put that on his hands and committed an error. In the fourth, again there wasn’t a hard-hit ball, but you absolutely cannot walk Jose Reyes right now. He’s hitting like .019. Throw it over the plate and see what he can do. Ok, maybe it doesn’t matter when Steven Matz gets one in the hole but then Lagares’s sac fly never happens. Big things come from small beginnings.
In the sixth, Pedro Strop made Conforto look stupid on his slider, as he did with Reyes. So with two strikes on Lagares he throws… a poorly placed fastball. I’m sorry, I’m not having that when the slider is still Strop’s best pitch. Especially when he can’t really locate his fastball when he’s trying to put hitters away with it. That’s faulty between the ears and with the limbs.
I understand that moving Montgomery to the rotation make the bullpen wonky, especially when Duensing is also down and he’s your only other multiple inning guy. So you try and get an extra inning out of Edwards with the off-day tomorrow. But Curtis Granderson isn’t catching up to an Edwards fastball if it’s high in the zone. A curve at the bottom is exactly what he’s looking for. Not good enough.
And it pains me to say but Hector Rondon just doesn’t have anything right now. Uehara is your guy to get lefties out, that’s what he’s done pretty much since he came to the league, or you walk Duda. Joe didn’t do either, and then the game is out of hand.
Again, lately it just feels like the Cubs aren’t locked in and that’s what is getting me a tad worried. And I worry more if it doesn’t feel like they notice that they’re not locked in.
Good lord did Matt Harvey have nothing. Lollipopping 90 MPH fastballs over the heart of the plate is going to get you… well it’s going to get you Schwarber’s homer, that’s what. But the Cubs only managed two hits off the Mets’ pen until the 9th when the horse was in a different area code than the barn. And this Mets pen isn’t exactly in Nasty Boys territory or anything.
Top WPA Play: Schwarber’s homer in the 4th that scared all the birds hanging out at La Guardia away. (+.184)
Bottom WPA Play: Granderson’s homer, duh. Which should cause another one or two Phil Rogers columns about what a shame it is that he never played for the Cubs and how the drought would have ended well before last year had he and he probably would have solved the city’s violence problem too while also cleaning up Lake Michigan and playing QB for the Bears. (-.275)
Lead photo courtesy Brad Penner—USA Today Sports